Note: Below is a summation of the law regarding Kindergarten. To read about the full homeschooling law in Georgia, read this post.
I explained in this post why I would delay sending my four-year-old to Kindergarten this fall, if I were going to send him to public school. However, in our “home school” I’ve decided to officially consider him a Kindergartener, starting in June 2011. (UPDATE June 2012: I’ve decided to consider him a Kindergartener this year too since that is what he’d be if he were in school. I explain why more in this post.) This is because I feel he’s ready for a higher level of learning.
First, some legal information pertaining to the law in my home state of Georgia, U.S.A.:
According to the law in Georgia, I don’t have to officially declare that we’re homeschooling until my child is six years old. Sending in a Declaration of Intent for Kindergarten is not necessary UNLESS my child has already been enrolled in school for 20 or more days.
Here is an excerpt of the law: “20-2-690.1 Compulsory Attendance: a) Every parent, guardian, or other person residing within this state having control or charge of any child or children between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays shall enroll and send such child or children to a public school, a private school, or a home study program that meets the requirements for a public school, a private school, or a home study program …”
The kindergarten (5 yr old) “exception”: Georgia Code 20-2-150: “Eligibility for enrollment” states … “(c) All children enrolled for 20 school days or more in the public schools of this state prior to their seventh birthday shall become subject to all of the provisions of this article, the provisions of Code Sections 20-2-690 through 20-2-701, and the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education relating to compulsory school attendance even though they have not attained seven years of age.”
According to the Georgia Department of Education, many homeschooling parents send in a Declaration of Intent to their local school district because they think that kindergarten is compulsory. Therefore, do not send in a declaration of intent for kindergarten unless your child has already been attending a public school.
To read this full law, click here.
So I’m very excited to have a Kindergartener in my house!
Yes, I know it’s the beginning of summer, but what I love about homeschooling is that I can teach my child something specific when I feel he’s ready to learn it. More importantly, however, I believe learning happens all the time, and even when he’s playing and exploring his world, he’s learning. When he’s interested in something, we can learn more about it. So even though it’s June, we’re doing homeschool.
There’s no right way to homeschool a child in Kindergarten. I don’t believe it’s necessary to purchase curriculums. Mostly what children need at this time is to play and interact with the world around them. For example, I wrote a column about how important it is for children to play make-believe. You can read that here.
I don’t think Kindergarten has to look too much different from preschool. I have written several posts about our preschool, which you can access here. All of that still applies to Kindergarten. (And the best update for you to read regarding homeschooling at this young age is “Setting Our Homeschool Priorities for Two Boys, ages 5 and 2.”)
For our “Kindergarten” I am adding a few things:
- We’ve started Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which takes only 20 minutes a day. (UPDATE: You can read about our experience and my review of the book by clicking here.) I wish I could say that I did extensive research on reading programs and decided that this would be the best program according to my child’s learning style, but the reason I picked it is much more mundane than that. Another homeschooler who I admire very much said it worked well for one of her children, and then I found the book used on Amazon for about $10. For that price, I thought I would try it, and if it didn’t work, I would either wait awhile or look into other programs. I’m happy to say that we’ve completed 1/4 of the lessons, and my son is doing very well, and he’s enjoying it! I’ll write more about why I like it and our schedule for it in a future post. I’ll also be able to tell you if we continue to like it. (Click here for my follow-up post, “How I’ve Taught Kindergarten Reading.”)
- I have looked over the class curriculum for our local school’s Kindergarten class (which isn’t easy to read, so I won’t share it here), and I have also consulted my favorite reference when it comes to a typical course of study: World Book Typical Course of Study. (UPDATE: World Book has removed this page from their site, but someone found it here also. I’m grateful that someone copied the pages before Worldbook took them down even though you have to click a hundred links to see it all! ) I mentioned this reference in my preschool posts too. This is a not a list that I’m going to stress over or feel like I have to check everything off on. I’m just using it as a guide. For example, I see that Kindergarteners might begin to learn about the earth, moon, stars and planets. I know that my son was interested in learning about space in the past and enjoyed looking at some library books about it. So I’m going to keep a look out for other books and activities related to this subject. There’s a lot on the list that my son has already learned about, but some of it gives me ideas and opens my eyes to what he might be interested in and what he might be ready for, so that’s how I’ll use it. (See my Table of Contents for a list of my kindergarten posts.)
- The World Book list gave me one of my ideas that I’m going to implement starting in July. It says that Kindergarteners learn the meanings of holidays, traditions and customs. We have read books about most of the holidays over the past couple of years, but I haven’t gone in depth about the origins or meanings of most holidays. He’s ready for this, and I think he’ll enjoy it, so I’m going to make a point to build a lesson around each holiday. I have already found some books about Independence Day. This will double as a history lesson and his introduction into the history of his country, the United States of America. (See my Table of Contents for posts about holidays, traditions and rituals.)
- I’m going to be on the look out for simple ways to introduce more math to him. (Click here for my follow-up post, “Homeschooling Kindergarten Math.) Lately he’s been interested in counting to 100, and he’s starting to “get it,” but I thought it would help him to see the numbers on a board. So I went by a teacher’s store in Athens and found a poster with the numbers from 1-100. He loves it and has already counted the numbers twice. He noticed the pattern in the numbers too, which is what I was counting on (pun intended). (I thought about making my own poster, but the one I found ($2.50) didn’t cost much more than a poster board and pen, and it saves me time.)
- We also picked up an inexpensive map of the U.S. and a poster about plants (my son is really into planting right now). (See my follow-up post, “A Kindergarten Child-led Project: Seeds, Planting, Gardening.”) I’ll talk about these in future posts, and I’ll be sure to write about our other Kindergarten activities over this next year. (So I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog!)
- In addition to this, we’ll continue to go on field trips, explore the world and make up projects according to my son’s interests! We also use project-based homeschooling, and you can find a list of our projects on my Table of Contents.
I also wrote a newspaper column on this topic for The Barrow Journal, and you can read that by clicking here.
Please share your plans for Kindergarten!